things i learned in niagara falls, ontario

I learned that a bed and breakfast in Niagara Falls can be way over the top, an extravaganza of color, turrets, kitsch and knick-knacks.

I learned that the view of Horseshoe Falls is all-encompassing and stunning from the Canadian side.

I learned that Hornblower Cruises is the Canadian boat ride into the tumult of the horseshoe, and that passengers wear red ponchos.

I learned that when it’s a gloomy day, I feel gloomy, and when it’s sunny, I feel sunny. 🙂

I learned that there is a Ten Thousand Buddha Temple north of Niagara Falls where monks are dedicated to spreading peace and understanding of dharma philosophy.

I learned that Niagara-on-the-Lake is charming little town but there isn’t much to do there.

I learned that the waitress at Fouros Greek Restaurant seemed a bit terrified when preparing the flaming saganaki for many customers.

I relearned that I despise eggs with runny whites. (Not that I ever forget!)

I  learned that at the brink of Niagara Falls a speed of 109km/hour has been recorded, while downriver where the Niagara River expands, it reaches 40km/hour.  At the White Water Walk, they reach 48km/hour, making them Class 6 rapids.

I learned that Class 6 rapids, the highest level, are extremely difficult to maneuver due to steep vertical drops and boulders; Class 6 is usually considered unrunnable.

I learned that the Whirlpool Rapids run for 4km through Niagara Gorge and have standing waves of 3-5 meters, caused not by rock obstructions but by the sheer force of water being channeled through the narrowing gorge.

I learned that tightrope walkers are known as funambulists.

I learned that the first person to cross the Gorge on a rope was Jean Francois Gravelet “Blondin.” In 1860, he carried a 56-lb. stove on his back. Dressed in a chef’s uniform, he carried 3 tin plates, a small hand bellows, a spirit lamp, wooden matches and some flammable tar pitch. After putting down the stove on one part of the rope, he cooked up a two-egg omelet and ate it.

I learned that Barrel Rider Maude Williams got caught the swirling vortex of the whirlpool for six hours in 1901 and died of suffocation because her pet dog, who accompanied her, put his nose into the only hole in the barrel, cutting off her air supply.

I learned that daredevil performances began in 1859 to meet the demands of spectators. Because of fatalities, they were made illegal in 1911.  Violators are now fined $10,000.

I learned that Harriet Tubman and other slaves made their way into Canada on the suspension bridge over the Niagara River in 1856.

I learned that you can take your kids down a garish street with haunted houses, wax museums, a Ferris wheel, a bowling alley, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, fast food joints, and tacky souvenir shops.

I learned that even though I hate loud, kitschy arcades like the ones on Centre Street, I love taking photos of them.

I learned it’s fun to spend time with an old friend who you haven’t seen in five years.

I learned that I’m not patient enough to capture butterflies on camera.

I learned it’s fun to walk around drinking Tempranillo in silver espresso cups with a good friend.

I learned that in Canada they use the term “open carry” to refer to walking around with an open alcoholic beverage while in America we use it to refer to openly carrying a firearm in public.

I learned that seeing waterfalls and rainbows under blue skies, while chatting with an old friend, make my day.

I learned that I’m lucky to have friends in life, like Mona Lisa, who never fail to make an effort with me.  She lugged a bottle of wine and silver cups in her backpack all the way from Waterloo on the bus, and she treated me to the Butterfly Conservatory.

I learned that the power of water never fails to amaze.

I learned that after sundown, Horseshoe Falls is lit in candy-colors of green, turquoise and pink.

I learned I always enjoy meeting European travelers in the U.S.

*June 27-28, 2018*


“PROSE” INVITATION: I invite you to write up to a post on your own blog about a recently visited particular destination (not journeys in general). Concentrate on any intention you set for your prose.  In this case, one of my intentions for my trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario was to write a “things I learned” list in each place.

It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or non-fiction for this invitation.  You can either set your own writing intentions, or use one of the prompts I’ve listed on this page: writing prompts: prose & poetry.  (This page is a work in process.) You can also include photos, of course.

Include the link in the comments below by Monday, November 12 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this invitation on Tuesday, November 13, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!

the ~ wander.essence ~ community

I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community.  I promise, you’ll be inspired. See below in the comments for any links. 🙂

Thanks to all of you who wrote prosaic posts following intentions you set for yourself. 🙂